Tiny kicks and pinpricks of worry

My husband felt our second baby kick for the first time last night.
 
I’d be lying if I said I felt no trepidation about this second baby.
 
Sometimes it feels like our lives have JUST barely reached some sort of equilibrium—what if I’m throwing off that balance forever? Having a child changed everything. My career is different (albeit so much better). Our marriage was tested (though came out arguably stronger). My friendships were refined (and I was left with fewer but the most amazing connections).
 
Despite all those positive results, it was rough road getting here. It was months of depression and postpartum anger and stress and self-doubt.
 
Some days, Vivi still screams for 20 minutes about the dress she’s going to wear or a headband that I’m not putting on her “right.” Some days, I wonder if I’m going to survive year two…let alone if I can do it again in another couple years.
 
Some days I wonder if I’ve possibly made a big mistake.
 
Because…am I ready for another seismic shift in my life?
 
On a (somewhat? maybe?) smaller scale, I worry about my heart growing to love two babies equally.
 
This is a thing. I know it’s a thing. Every woman doubts her ability to love her next child as much as her first, and virtually everyone comments later that it was a silly, pointless worry. “You just do,” they reassure you with friendly smiles.
 
But like a young girl who asks what love feels like, the answers never seem to really satisfy the way experience ultimately will. But I believe in the THING. I know I will love this baby differently but the same, and I look forward to the moment when I just do.
 
Which isn’t to say this experience isn’t rife with its own opportunities for worry. I worry about my children getting along. I worry about upsetting Vivi’s life. I worry about a thousand unknown things that I hope one day I’ll laugh at myself for worrying about.
 
But then, last night on the couch, my husband’s hand pressed to the side of my belly as we both held our breath, his eyebrows jumped with each wiggle until finally, “Was THAT it?”
 
“Yes!”
 
And both our eyes filled with tears as we grinned at each other like idiots, a mirror image of ourselves three years ago on a different couch in a small apartment in Astoria.
 
“I love it already,” my husband whispered.
“Me too,” I answered softly.
 
Because despite the worry and the waiting shifts, it’s true. We just do.

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19 tips for going to Disney with a toddler

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Our little family recently went on our first real vacation in…four years? More? Typically our trips are centered on spending time with out-of-state family, so we rarely get a chance to do anything that feels like a true getaway.

Until a few months back, when two friends decided to plan a trip to Disney World and asked if we wanted to go too.

Um, that would be an affirmative.

The last time I went to Disney, I was about 12, and I certainly didn’t have a toddler in tow.  I really didn’t know what to expect, but I immediately set out to gather tips and tricks from people who know a lot more about the parks than I do.

I’m thrilled to report that our trip went even better than planned–and we escaped without any real toddler meltdowns or disasters.

So while there are plenty of Disney blogs out there you can read (written by what I’m sure are people who know a lot more about Disney than I do), I thought it might be helpful to share my tips for making the trip go smoothly with a toddler.

Ready, set, DISNEY.

1. Go in January.
I’m not sure Disney really has an off-season anymore, but if it did, it would be January. The buzz of the holidays has died down, and there are no major events in this month the mouse deems worthy to celebrate. As a result, you are more likely to get some kind of discount, particularly if you book your hotel, park tickets, and meals together like we did.

Plus, think about it: It’s January in FLORIDA. While the weather was pretty chilly at night an in the early morning (pack legitimate jackets and sweatshirts, folks), the rest of the day was perfect. No one wants to be dripping sweat when they meet Ariel, you guys. Even better, the parks tend to be less crowded, which is great for people who hate crowds so much they actually moved states to avoid them.

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2. Stay on-site if possible.
Yes, I’m sure you can find a cheaper hotel in the Orlando area if you need to, but hear me out: Not only are the Disney hotels extremely accommodating, the convenience can’t be beaten.

Let me tell you a story. It’s called: Parents Always Have to Carry Too Much Crap. I may have given away the ending. The point is, as a parent, you are constantly carrying other people’s junk. Disney gets this. They feel you. Which is why, when you stay on-site, they offer this magical gift: They pick up your luggage from the airport. And deliver it to your room. And then, when you check out, they check it in at your hotel so you can go to the airport without your luggage and not need to carry it again until you land in your home airport.

Can I just tell you that these facts were three of the top five things I was most excited about experiencing on my trip to Disney? (The other two were meeting princesses and Tower of Terror.)

Even better, you don’t have to rent a car because the Disney Magical Express takes you to and from the airport, and the shuttle service takes you to and from the parks each day. No fighting traffic, no searching for parking. It’s like you’re way more important than you actually are.

If you factor in what transportation (and mental duress) would cost you to do all those things yourself, you might just find that this actually is the best deal out there.

3. But be sure to pack what you need immediately in your carry-on.
The only downside to having someone else pick up your luggage like you’re Beyonce? You’re not actually Beyonce, you so have to wait about three hours (or sometimes a little more) for your luggage to be delivered to your room.

To make sure you’re not left without anything essential (like a swimsuit if you want to hit up the pool or your Disney gift cards if you plan to go to Disney Springs), pack it all in your carry-on.

4. Do. The. Meal. Plan.
I really can’t emphasize this enough. Since I’m not a Disney fanatic (merely an enthusiast), it’s not terribly hard for me to imagine why there are people–and parents especially–who hate Disney. One reason? The food is expensive, yo. I mean, $9 for a basket of fries? I get it.

That’s why the meal plan is essential to enjoying your experience. If you follow my previous tip and go during the off-season, you’re more likely to get a packaged deal that includes meals. The plan is extremely generous (one quick service (or counter service) meal, one sit-down, and two snacks a day, plus your refillable mug for the resort), and some of us didn’t even have enough of an appetite to eat everything. PLUS, as of 2018, patrons over 21 can get an alcoholic beverage with their quick service an sit-down meals, which is basically an unheard of deal.

Trust me when I tell you that your enjoying every meal at Disney hinges on you doing this plan.

5. Use Instacart to get groceries delivered.
Whether you use the meal plan or not, there are undoubtedly a few grocery items you’ll want to buy outside of Disney. (Think: bottles of water, baby food, milk, etc.) Instacart lets you outsource your shopping. A real, live person will go to your desired store (even Whole Foods!), make your purchase, and deliver it to you at your hotel. They even text you if an item isn’t available anymore to have you okay a substitute.

It’s a genius way to avoid having to buy bottles of water or unnecessary breakfast items that you know you can get cheaper elsewhere.

6. Get a rolling bag or strap for your car seat.
Truth talk: You don’t need a car seat at Disney unless you plan on driving yourself (see tip #2), but I wanted to bring ours for the plane since Vivi needed her own seat for the first time and a) I knew this would be safer and b) I thought she might stay seated easier if it was a comfortable chair. (I was right on both counts, for the record.) Either way, anyone who has been a parent for more than five seconds knows that car seats are a pain in the rear to transport (remember that instant classic Parents Always Have to Carry Too Much Crap?).

The last thing you want to do is lug one around in your arms through the airport. Solution: a tether that straps it to your rolling carry-on. I’ve also heard this backpack version is good, but truthfully, I think that would be way more tiring than simply rolling it along.

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7. Invest (or rent) a lay-flat stroller.
I knew that our having a good time on this trip would completely hinge on whether or not I could get Vivi to nap every afternoon. I may have (ironically) lost sleep worrying about whether or not it would happen.

To parents who are also worried about this, I offer this reassurance and suggestion: For one, your kid is most likely going to be exhausted each day. The constant mental stimulation of Disney tires everyone out, not to mention the excitement and actual physical effort required to spend the day there. Make it work for you by ensuring your stroller is a stimulation-free environment. It is essential that it lays flat and has an oversized hood to shut off your child from anything visually exciting.

Our stroller is small and compact, which is perfect for the city, but didn’t provide the aforementioned necessities. So we rented a City Mini Baby Jogger from Rent Baby Gear of Orlando. Their service is great–they dropped the stroller off at our hotel and then picked it up on the last day. My friend also rented a crib for her baby. It was convenient, easy to steer, laid back totally flat, and had a spacious sun visor that cut Vivi off from the characters and sun so she napped a couple hours each day.

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8. Make sure those princess dresses are comfy.
Vivi is just now entering the world of loving all things Disney princess, but she’s also a toddler who hates if there’s an itchy tag in her shirt. That being said, I knew she wouldn’t be able to stand a full day in an official Disney princess dress dripping with tulle and rough edges.

So I was so excited when I discovered Little Adventures princess dresses and dress ups on Instagram. Their dresses are all machine washable and made from soft materials, and the quality is (I think) even more authentic looking than some Disney versions. Vivi loved her dresses, wore them the entire day at the park, and still wears them now for play time.

Tip: Before you buy, do a little digging online and on Instagram to make sure there’s not a coupon code available. She does a lot of blogger collabs, and I ended up getting two for the price of one.

9. And plan your outfits around the weather.
We were probably slightly unprepared for how cold it got at night, but in general, each park also tends to be hotter or colder depending on its makeup. For example, Animal Kingdom has a lot of open-air, cement areas, so it holds a lot of heat. Epcot has a giant lake in the center and generally feels cooler than whatever the temperature says. Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios can be crowded, but they have a good mix of indoor-outdoor rides and events to keep things balanced.

No matter the time of year you go, keep that in mind when planning Disney outfits. (Oh please, like you’re not planning Disney outfits.)

10. Buy souvenirs ahead of time.
Remember when I talked about the reasons people hate Disney? Souvenirs are one of those reasons. Because, truth talk? Those little plushies and pins are dang expensive. Get around it by buying yours before you go, and then presenting your child with a new toy each night.

We were actually extremely fortunate to have friends who love us and our daughter who bought her gifts before and during our trip. Vivi had the bubble wand, a light-up toy, and received three “buddies” throughout the vacation that she still loves on regularly. So get awesome friends, or bargain shop before you go.

11. Prepare for the fireworks.
Vivi actually LOVED the fireworks every night, but some little ones are overwhelmed by the noise. Pack a hat with earflaps or buy a pair of these noise canceling headphones to keep little eardrums protected during the booms.

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12. Simplify your bedtime routine.
Everyone will be exhausted by the end of the day (yourself included), so don’t feel bad about keeping your bedtime routines short.

We simplified ours by giving Vivi a good swipe with a baby wipe, having her wash her hands and brush her teeth, putting her in her jammies, and then lights out. If you want to really do Disney at an expert parent level (or if you’re just dealing with a really little baby), bring their jammies to the park and dress them for bed right before the fireworks each night. That way, you can easily pop them into bed as soon as you get back to the room. Then in the morning, make sure everyone gets a real bath before you dress for the day.

13. Use the Disney app to plan rides and character meet-and-greets you don’t have FastPasses for.
FastPasses are truly wonderful (we only waited in about two lines the entire time), but since you only get three per park, you’re going to have to be strategic about the rest of your stay. The Disney My Experience app lets you not only track characters and navigate to rides, but it also gives you an estimated wait time for each thing. So if the line for Avatar Flight of Passage or to meet The Little Mermaid is under an hour, get over there now. (Just kidding, Avatar is NEVER UNDER AN HOUR.)(But it’s worth the wait in line, trust me.)

14. Wake up early to book FastPasses.
Speaking of FastPasses, they are no joke. You’re allowed to book three per park, but there are rules about the tier of the ride (aka, you can’t book all three roller coasters in Magic Kingdom because they’re top tier). And most of the rides you would actually need a FastPass for book up fast (no pun intended).

So make a plan. Because I was traveling with a group, we broke up the parks amongst three of us so we could book everything at once (you just have to link your reservations so you can add names outside your immediate family). Decide what is most important and book them as early in the day as you can. Once you use up your FastPasses, you’re allowed to book more later in the day. You can book your passes as early as a month before your trip.

Do NOT slack on this. These suckers are gone in a flash, so it’s worth setting an alarm so you’re up the moment they open up to you. Disney will send you about three letters and emails reminding you when the day is coming, but put it in your calendar too. As much as most normal adults hate waiting in lines, toddlers HATE waiting in lines, so the happiness of your trip depends on this.

15. And when all else fails, child swap!
Add this to the list of things Disney knows are annoying for parents on vacation. Because there are obviously rides that your little one won’t be big enough to go on, Disney will have one parent wait in line and then be given a Child Swap pass for the other parent to skip the line to ride. That way, someone is always available to watch your toddler, but you don’t have to wait in line twice.

It’s as genius as it sounds. Plus, each Child Swap pass is good for up to three people, which is how I got to go on Flight of Passage TWICE. #winning

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16. Prepare your child to meet characters.
It’s not at all out of the ordinary for little kids and babies to be scared of the characters. Vivi was basically terrified until we went to a Winnie the Pooh-themed lunch at Magic Kingdom (they all look like giant stuffed animals, so I think they were less scary somehow). After that, she was generally great but sometimes needed a way to break the ice.

It’s a good idea to prep your kid to meet their heroes so they don’t panic or freeze up. Autograph books are good because kids don’t really have to say anything, but it can also be helpful to have your child prepare a question (great for the princesses who can talk) or a high-five (for the mute characters). For Vivi, a nose boop was the perfect ice breaker. Once she booped Piglet’s snout or Mickey’s nose or Olaf’s carrot, she was good to give hugs and smile for photos.

And for my final three tips, a few safety suggestions:

17. Write your phone number inside your child’s Magic Band.
In all honesty, Disney is not the worst place in the world to lose your kid. Just kidding: EVERY PLACE IS HORRIBLE TO LOSE YOUR KID. What I mean is, Disney is what you’d call pretty serious about having a good image with families, so if a kid goes missing, they shut that park down until the kid is found.

They also tag..er…give everyone a Magic Band (which operates as your room key, holds reservations and Fast Passes, and links to a credit card to make purchases). What they don’t advertise as much is that your Magic Band is really a tracking device. They use it for a variety of innocuous reasons, like tracking traffic in the park and being able to show you the professional pictures you take throughout the day. But it could, in an emergency, be useful in finding your kid as well. (Disney, if you’re reading, I also think the children’s bands shouldn’t be able to be removed by anyone other than the parent. Put a code on that thang. Just saying.)

Aside from that, a simple thing you can do to help your kid be found if they wander off accidentally is to write your phone number inside their band. Vivi was actually pretty good about keeping hers on (Tip: Tell them it’s their MAGIC PRINCESS BAND! in an excited voice when you give it to them.), and slightly older will most likely have even less of an issue.

18. Take a picture of your kid every morning.
Listen, you’re probably going to do this anyway (see the aforementioned planned Disney outfits!), but it also has a really practical motivation: If your kid goes missing, you can’t be expected to remember every detail about what they were wearing in the middle of that emotional strain. Now you’ll have a super-current photo to share with park authorities at a moment’s notice on your phone.

19. Don’t be ashamed to use a harness if necessary.
No judgment, folks. Disney can be a wild place, and toddlers are wild people who don’t understand most boundaries. If you’re raising a roamer, consider a lightweight toddler harness to keep them close and safe. We actually bought this one. We didn’t end up using it since she was either held or in the stroller most of the time, but I liked knowing we had it if things got hairy.

 

Dance like a two-year-old who doesn’t care if anyone is watching.

A couple of nights ago, my parents were in town and we took them to one of our favorite local restaurants. It’s an Irish pub, and every Sunday a few musicians set up camp for an hour or two and play traditional Irish music.

They were just setting up when we arrived, so we were happy we’d get to hear their whole set.

Vivi has always loved music, but the moment they started to play a little jig, she instantly started to dance. For the next 20 minutes, she stomped and kicked and jumped with complete abandon.

I was transfixed by her incredible confidence. The room was filled with strangers (who were very much watching her little display), but my daughter danced on, unafraid of what anyone thought of her. It embodied this remarkable age, where self-esteem is arguably at an all-time high.

It nearly took my breath away.

Beneath my joy, though, there was a small catch in my throat. Because I wondered, “When will she start to care? When will she start to worry what other people think? When will she lose this magical confidence?”

I’ve written before about how motherhood makes me want to be braver, if only because it will hopefully lead to braver children. Vivi’s impromptu dance recital was a sharp reminder to me of that promise I made to her and to myself.

Because I nurse a bubble of hope. That while she will probably start to care what other people think, she will always be confident enough to be herself regardless of her critics. That the conviction she now reserves for refusing to clean up her toys will one day help her stick to her guns over much more important issues of character.

At the risk of sounding too much like a country song, I hope my sweet girl will always dance when the music moves her. I promise I’ll do my best to be there to cheer on every step.

The motherhood metamorphosis

I’ve been reading a lot of articles lately about the subject of identity and motherhood.

Partly because it’s my job. But partly because I feel like it’s one of those things I’ve slowly been working out for the last two years.

When I first got pregnant, I was so absorbed by the process. I’m one of those freaks who LOVED being pregnant 99.9 percent of the time, and I was fascinated by every single bit of it. (Classic nerd.)

After Vivi was born, I had no other choice but to be consumed by mama life. And here’s a fun fact about me: When I see no way out, I find a way to love it. Really, I’m too Type A to see all these lemons sitting out and not try to make them useful. Ergo, the lemonade of early motherhood.

Longtime readers will also remember that I made a very active effort to truly appreciate every bit. Loads of people want to be parents and can’t for whatever reason; who am I to take this actual miracle for granted?

And I can’t honestly say that I HAVE enjoyed every stage of Vivi, despite those “the days are long” moments that surely I did not enjoy at the time. I recently told a pregnant pal that my strategy for pregnancy and babies (and toddlers) has been to go in with the lowest expectations. After that, anything seems pretty okay!

But another fun fact about me: I commit…and not always in a good way.

I go all in. I’ve done it with jobs, I’ve done it with relationships. There have been so many times in life I’ve gotten six months into something and then paused to think, “Wait…what happened? Who am I? How did I get here?”

It’s a weird quirk, and it has led to some difficult self-reflection moments.

So going into motherhood, I made a conscientious effort to NOT do that. I made balance one of my top priorities.

That’s why I kept the jobs (Okay, that was also to pay the thousands we owed the hospital/buy groceries). That’s why I went back to working out as quickly as possible. It’s why I clung to the little things that made me feel like post-pregnancy Justine.

But, here’s the funny thing about motherhood: It’s not like a new job. It’s not even like a new relationship. It’s not about giving things up or even really adding things in.

Motherhood is a metamorphosis. You enter one thing, but you emerge something entirely different.

I hear so many people say they don’t want to lose themselves in motherhood, and truly that was one of my concerns too. But, really, that’s not what happens. You are not getting lost—you’re becoming an entirely different creature. It’s an evolution that would never have happened if you took a different path.

Because you actually get to keep the parts of yourself you like. And everything else gets refined.

Mamas are efficient, so we are skimmed down to our most necessary parts. We are adaptable, so we grow the new abilities we need to do and thrive. We are resourceful, so we develop the skills necessary and walk away stronger than we could have ever been.

Truth is, I can’t actually stop being who I am. But whereas that realization usually came in a jarring moment with other life transitions, with motherhood, it was a gentle waking up. A stretch where I suddenly realized new muscles had developed overnight. This new “Mama” on my resume makes me look and feel more powerful, not less.

The fact is, I never lost my identity. I let it grow.

From the trenches of sleep regression.

Technically, I’m not sure if it’s a true regression or just remnants of a toddler not fully adjusted since our move. Moves throw off routine and structure (two of toddlers’ favorite things, despite what they’ll tell you), and sleep is usually one of the first things to suffer.

But the point is, while Vivi started going to bed like normal just two days after we moved, she has progressively been waking up about ten minutes earlier every day.

Today, it came to a head when she started calling me at 5:44 a.m.

It was clear: We needed a sleep training refresher.

If you’ve spent more than four seconds talking parenthood with me, you know I’m a huge proponent of sleep training. It has worked wonders for us since Vivi was about two-and-a-half months old, and I’ve never looked back.

There have been times like this in the past (real sleep regressions as a result of development), so I know we can get back on a good schedule, but I also know the re-“training” only gets harder as Vivi gets older.

And dang if she doesn’t know how to work it.

Because, here’s the thing: It’s really hard to make the informed, adult decision at 5:44 a.m.

You’re asking a progressively sleep-deprived brain to choose “lie awake and listen to angry baby” instead of “get baby and doze in my bed together.” I imagine my brain as a dumb ogre swatting away rational thought and just reaching for the easiest option that ends in more sleep.

Not to mention the fact that listening to your kid cry just sucks. And makes time seem to stand still. You’ll close your eyes for what feels like ten minutes of screaming and then look st the clock to realize it has been 45 seconds. Awesome.

But because I really don’t want to be woken up tomorrow (and every day for the next year) and 5:30 a.m. or 4:00 a.m., I tell myself to be strong and write a blog post to distract myself.

Because she’s not waking up because she’s fully rested. (I’m literally writing this while she yells, “Dada!! Take nap!!!!”, which means she wants him to come get her so they can go take a nap. Insanity.) She wakes up tired and angry she’s still tired, and she needs to re-learn to go back to sleep when she feels that way.

But that doesn’t mean the learning process doesn’t suck a lot.

Any other sleep regression trenches stories out there people want to share?

I failed at motherhood and lived to tell about it.

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Not surprisingly, motherhood is packed with an assortment of learning experiences. You learn that you can function on roughly twenty minutes of sleep. You learn that actually, no, four diapers is not enough to pack for your first long outing with an infant.

You learn enough about this tiny new human in your life to fill several books.

But you learn a lot about yourself, too. Sometimes it’s great. (“Hey! I am pretty good at X!”) Sometimes it’s not.

Recently, I learned that I am incredibly uncomfortable with failure.

I don’t feel like that sentence adequately describes the emotional turmoil I experienced when I had this revelation. Let me back up.

A couple of weeks ago, we attempted potty training. Yes, I heard from all the people that this was probably crazy. Yes, I realized that I was also packing for an out-of-state move, so, in hindsight, I should probably have predicted a few bumps.

But Vivi is so smart! She was already exhibiting all the traits of a toddler ready to potty train! She had even successfully peed in the potty a few times! And I had read a book! (Because I have always read a book.) I was so prepared to power through a week of intense training and emerge proud, victorious, and diaper-less.

And then real life set in.

I’ll spare you the gory details, but the essential details of this training method say your kid needs to be naked until they start to get the concept of going in the potty. Obviously, this leads to quite a few accidents. Meaning I was cleaning up a lot of pee. And, yeah, some poo. To be fair, Vivi was actually making really good progress. She went from being totally clueless about what her body was doing to being able to tell me about a second before it happened that she needed to potty. But a week after we started, I hit a breaking point.

For one, I was out of time. I had blocked out one week, and I simply couldn’t dedicate the rest of the month to this project because of the aforementioned move.

For another, my nerves were shot. It’s almost embarrassing how frazzled needing to catch Vivi peeing left me. But every night when I could finally put a diaper on her to go to sleep, I felt like it was the first time I exhaled all day.

One night, every time I would start to drift off, I would fall into a dream where I would be looking at Vivi just as she started to pee on the floor. I would wake up literally lunging to grab her, adrenaline pumping through my already exhausted body.

In short, I was a wreck.

It probably didn’t help that my life was completely turned upside down. We still didn’t know where we were living post-move, I had so. much. packing. to do, and we were beaten out on a house that we wanted to buy. Plus, I hadn’t really left the apartment for five days. Nothing felt like it was going right, and every time I would have to get on my knees to wipe up a puddle of urine, it felt like a personal insult.

That night I kept having the horrible lunging dream, I finally got out of bed around 3 a.m. to read the part of my book about troubleshooting. In short, it said that if your child is 18-20 months, they are capable of being trained, but they are most likely going to need more time. Time I didn’t have.

So, at 3:32 a.m., I made a deal with myself: I would give it two more days, and if Vivi didn’t show serious signs of picking it up, we would put it off until we were settled in our new place. A bunch of people had also warned me that moves can cause even well trained toddlers to regress, and the thought of taking steps backward was literally bringing me to tears.

Two days later, Vivi had improved, but not to the point where I felt like I could comfortably leave her unattended or even leave the house with her diaper-less. So I called it. The diaper went back on, and life continued as it was. (Except that now Vivi tells me whenever she’s peeing in her diaper.)

It was then that I had to face the music: I had failed.

Granted, no one likes to fail. But I realized that it embarrasses me on a deep, dark level. And, having realized, this, I felt embarrassed that I was so embarrassed. Because this wasn’t really failure, right? It’s a set-back. It’s bad timing. Why do I care so much? But I found myself in a position that, no matter how much I tried or focused on the problem, I had to admit defeat.

Defeat is really not my forte.

But, in happier news, this experience has also taught me how to let myself off the hook. Yes, things didn’t go according to my (arbitrary) plan. But we’ll try again, and Vivi will probably pick it up quicker with this experience under her belt (and once she’s in an environment where everything isn’t topsy-turvy). Vivi doesn’t hold it against me (or maybe she does? Guess we’ll have to wait for her memoir to know for sure…), so I can let it go too.

Parent readers, tell me about your own parenting “failures.” Did you beat yourself up as much as I do?

Slow down.

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Vivi goes everywhere at a full-tilt run now. For someone for whom time must seem to move so slow, she’s in a near constant rush to get to the next thing.

I think she gets that from me. Lately, we’ve been thinking a lot about next steps for our family. It’s something we’re always discussing and dreaming about, but just because you have a plan doesn’t mean you take every step at once.

I’m not good at patience. When I know how I want to decorate a new apartment, I want to. It everything at once so it’s done rather than wait and budget. When we plan a trip, I want to pack NOW and get on the plane tomorrow, which is an impossible way of life with a toddler.

When I watch Vivi take off, arms pumping and feet stomping with all their might, I want to scoop her into my arms and snuggle her too tight to let her keep moving. Too tight for her to keep growing up.

It doesn’t work that way, of course. Vivi keeps on growing even in my arms. Just like time will continue to march on whether I’m there counting the seconds or not.

Part of why I’ve continued this blog is because it’s my living diary. It allows me to reflect on so many important parts of my life and be right back in that moment. I thought about quitting it many times, but, in all seriousness, I kept it because I always felt like it would be a nice way to remember my hypothetical child’s life too. That’s a big part of why I’ve kept it around this far. So when I look at Vivi rushing around to the next thing, changing every single day, literally over night, I’m reminded of how important it is to record. To remember.

So relax. Stop and smell the roses. Why be anxious about tomorrow and all that. Like I said, I’m working on it.

And maybe my precocious little toddler is just the daily reminder I need to savor the moment.

And while I have your attention…

Thank you to everyone who responded to my last post. As usual, y’all restore my faith in humanity almost every time I let myself show a weakness, and I truly appreciate it.